The video I chose to write about this week is an brief visual overview of some of Wes Anderson’s cinematic influences in his movies. Based on the research of Matt Zoller Seitz, Beyond the Frame (the author of this video’s name is not listed unfortunately) uses a split screen to compare scenes between Anderson’s movies and others. The style of this video is rather straightforward, with no voiceover and text used to list the name and date of the movies being shown. The listing of the dates helps us understand the chronology of the works to see how Anderson might have been inspired by certain images or themes.
I couldn’t help thinking throughout this video if these comparisons could all be listed as an influences though. In some cases there definitely seem very direct visual parallel between Wes Anderson’s films and something that came before, such as the images between Anderson’s Bottle Rocket (1994) and the film The 400 Blows (1959). The parallels between the two are so similar it’s uncanny. In other moments though, I was a little skeptical if the films actually could be an influence of one another or if the similarities were coincidental – such as The Aquatic Life with Steve Zissou (2004) and Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970). I guess I didn’t understand going into this video that it had been created based off of research done by Seitz. Now I could see how these relationships have a stronger correlation than simply a comparison between similar movie scenes.
I guess that pulls my thoughts into some questions about making videographic commentaries. I felt some skepticism at first because I thought that the creator of this essay was finding these relationships on their own and some of them, although I could see a bond, felt a little far fetched. But as soon as I realized that these connections were based on research, I accepted them as legitimate. But even if they weren’t backed by this research, who is to say that there isn’t something to be offered in the connection? A lot of information can be conveyed by comparing and contrasting films, even if there is no “official” connection between the two. So, what is our role as producers of videographic criticism in backing our works? What do we do when thoughts like, “oh, there’s no way those two are connected,” come up for our viewers?
Overall, I really enjoyed watching this piece and found it inspiring as a learning cinematographer, photographer, and producer of film and media. I am a really big fan of Wes Anderson’s style and work and it was a little reassuring in a way to see how much he has been influenced from other filmmakers and movies (i.e. his genius is not all just from his own original thought and creativity, in a sense). It makes filmmaking seem even more collaborative than it already is and additionally verifies how there is always the potential to make something into your own.